Tag Archives: 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers

Post-Match: Canada vs. China

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

On September 30 at BMO Field, Canada’s 3-1 victory over China was a promising display of what Carolina Morace’s team is capable of executing. The long ball game and rigid player roles of Even Pellerud and Canada’s past were replaced by a free flowing squad who held possession with quick passes and attacked aggressively.

Lining up in a 4-3-3, Canada didn’t hesitate to test China’s backline right from the get-go. Just 6 seconds into the game, forward Josée Bélanger got into the final third to set up Kaylyn Kyle, but Kyle’s chip bounced harmlessly into the box.

In the 2nd minute of play, Bélanger hustled down the right wing again and won a corner kick after the ball deflected off a Chinese defender. Diana Matheson served a high arching ball into the box that Christine Sinclair headed on target, but was cleared out of bounds by #2 Liu Huana on the near post.

Canada’s second ensuing corner kick turned into China’s advantage instead. After pinging around in the air, a heavy touch by Marie-Even Nault allowed China to play a 20 yard through ball to an unmarked #8 Xu Yuan for a breakaway opportunity. The Canadians were caught playing a high defensive line and could only retreat as they watched Karina LeBlanc tip the shot over the bar.

China’s first corner kick of the match in the 4th minute was played short, and Bélanger was there to intercept. It was difficult for China to gain any sort of rhythm with Canada constantly stepping in to challenge their passes. Kyle was a bully in the midfield and had a great sequence early on in the game with about 4 or 5 interceptions in the span of a minute, all on different parts of the pitch.

The Canadian defence had their fair share of interceptions as well. At one point, Candace Chapman stepped high in the midfield to cut off a through ball, and Carmelina Moscato‘s pass sparked an attack with Matheson and Melissa Tancredi playing one touch passes to one another to advance the ball while making good use of space. This was one of Canada’s many attacks throughout the night that displayed the possession-oriented and quick passing style that Morace has been trying to implement since taking over the team in early 2009.

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Canada vs. China: Match Preview and Notes

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for some exciting news)

Canada is facing China tonight at BMO Field in Toronto. The match kicks off at 7:30 EST/4:30 PST and will be broadcasted live on Rogers Sportsnet East and Rogers Sportsnet Ontario.

This is a rare opportunity to play at home. Prior to 2008, Canada didn’t play a home game in over two years. Since then, one home game a year has been the norm, all of which have been held at BMO Field.

China has brought a really young team to face Canada and the US. 11 of the 23 players are from the 2006 U-20 WWC Russia and/or Thailand 2004, winning silver at both tournaments. That means that about half of the team was born on or after 1985. (I’ll give you better stats in another post). Veterans Bi Yan and Han Duan did not make the trip due to injuries.

The team is being revamped after a disappointing result at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup that meant China failed to qualify for the Women’s World Cup for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1991. Shang Ruihua took over as the head coach in 2008 after the team’s rocky relationship with Frenchwoman Elisabeth Loisel (2007-2008). Shang was replaced by Li Xiaopeng (not that Captain Obvious should butt in, but it’s the footballer Li Xiaopeng and not the gymnast, although that would be interesting =)) earlier this summer. Li is a former defensive midfielder for the Chinese National Team, and made a rare World Cup appearance in 2002.

Canada has been training since camp opened in Rome on August 25. After winning two exhibition games against Italian club teams in early September, Canada lost 5-0 to Germany in front of a raucous crowd of 20,431 in Dresden. The team relocated to Alliston, Ontario for more training on September 21 and played a closed door scrimmage on the 26th against China with a 1-1 result.

Following tonight’s match, China will face the USWNT in Kennesaw, Georgia October 2 at Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium and in Chester, Pennsylvania October 6 at PPL Park. China is preparing for the 16th Annual Asian Games in November and is targeting a gold medal finish. Canada will return to training after a short break. Camp will resume at Nottawasaga Inn & Resort in Alliston, Ontario on October 4 and go until the 14. They will have open training sessions, so both fans and media are invited to attend. Continue reading

Canadian Camp in Rome

Canadian head coach Carolina Morace recently called up 24 players to train in Rome, Italy from August 25 to September 12 as the team prepares for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers for a spot in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany.

What’s Going on in Camp?
While in Rome, the Canadian Women have been training twice a day. According to blog posts by defender Rhian Wilkinson, mornings of the first week of camp have usually been reserved for various testings, while full practice sessions have taken place late in the afternoon, often to avoid the extreme heat and humidity.

The team has been subject to the typical fair of fitness testing that includes sprints, the vertical jump test and the ever dreaded beep test (which was won by Kelly Parker during their May camp in Maryland). In terms of medical testing, their weight and body fat percentage were taken, as well as urine samples. The team also worked out on bicycle ergometers to collect data on their lung capacity, heart rate and blood pressure.

During a previous camp, conditioning coach, Mario, had given each player individualized training programs that targeted particular areas of improvement. Players were encouraged to work on these drills and other lifestyle changes regularly outside of national team duty, progress which Mario has been tracking.

In a recent session, the team worked on reaction time drills with incremental increases in difficulty. They then moved on to drills to improve their use of space and movement on the pitch, focusing on potential game day situations. On another day, strength conditioning was followed by aerobic training. Players were divided into groups based on earlier test results and made to do exercises that were specific to their fitness needs. Similarly, players later broke into small groups based on their field positions and continued on with more fitness drills. Those playing multiple positions took part in every group that is relevant to them. During the following session, players worked on their balance, 1v1, triangle work, and sprinting drills. The team then prepared for their final Italian exhibition game with a light practice session that focused on set pieces, fast footwork, and reaction time.

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The Canadian Women’s National Team’s Upcoming Schedule

As the Canadians prepare for the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers, the team will train together for approximately 7 straight weeks. Here is a detailed look at their upcoming plans, including a home game at BMO Field on September 30 against China.

The Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) recently announced details of the Women’s National Team’s (World No. 13) plans as they prepare for the upcoming CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in hopes of advancing to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 in Germany.

The last time the Canadian squad was together, a 10 day camp was held in Gaithersburg, Maryland May 2010. Canada played an exhibition game against the Washington Freedom of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) on May 23 at the Maryland SoccerPlex, which resulted in a 3-3 tie. Midfielder Kelly Parker led the team with 3 assists, setting up goals by Christina Julien, Christine Sinclair, and Jodi-Ann Robinson. Training continued as the team relocated to Norway for a week-long camp in early June, playing an international friendly against the World No. 6 at Fart Stadium in Hamar that ended in a 1-1 draw. Josée Bélanger scored her first goal and had her second cap at the Senior level that day.

Most recently, head coach Carolina Morace called up 24 players to train in Rome, Italy from August 25 to September 12. The team will have two practice sessions a day, and will play exhibition games against Femminile Serie A club teams Roma and Lazio September 1 and 8 respectively. Morace played for Lazio from 1984-85 and 1986-89. Lazio is also the former club of Sky Blue FC striker and Leslie Osborne collarbone breaker Patrizia Panico (1998-2003).

Notably absent from the roster are players with WPS commitments. Candace Chapman, Karina LeBlanc, Kelly Parker, and Christine Sinclair, presuming they are called-up and released, are expected to join the rest of the national team in Germany when they prepare to play an international friendly against the World No. 2 in Dresden, Germany on September 15. This will be an ideal opportunity for the Canadians to get a feel for the type of atmosphere to expect if they play in next year’s Women’s World Cup. The match will take place at Rudolf Harbig Stadion, one of the venues set to host during the 2011 WWC, including three group games in addition to a quarter-final match. The 22, 933 capacity stadium is home to 3rd Liga club team Dynamo Dresden.

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